Gathering Objective Evidence to Support a Long Term Disability Claim
At the end of the day, it is the claimant’s burden to prove that a physical or mental condition has so negatively affected the claimant that the claimant can no longer continue in his or her career. Most insurance policies require proof of objective evidence before the insurance company will pay out benefits on an LTD insurance claim. This is the evidence that insurance companies cannot deny exists.
Here at the Ortiz Law Firm we assist long term disability claimants compile and effectively present objective evidence to support the LTD claim. Mr. Ortiz is an experienced disability law attorney and has handled disability claims for one decade. He understands how to find and utilize medical and other documentary evidence that will hold up in court.
Why Objective Evidence is Needed
What is objective medical evidence? Objective medical evidence includes medical signs and laboratory findings. Signs are anatomical, physiological, or psychological abnormalities which can be observed by a medical provider. Signs are separate from the claimant’s statements (which are often referred to as “subjective complaints” or symptoms). Signs may be shown by medically acceptable clinical diagnostic techniques. Psychiatric signs are medically demonstrable phenomena that indicate specific psychological abnormalities, e.g., abnormalities of behavior, mood, thought, memory, orientation, development, or perception. They must also be shown by observable facts that can be medically described and evaluated. Laboratory findings are anatomical, physiological, or psychological phenomena which can be shown by the use of medically acceptable laboratory diagnostic techniques. Some of these diagnostic techniques include chemical tests, electrophysiological studies (electrocardiogram, electroencephalogram, etc.), X-rays, MRIs, CT-Scans, blood tests and psychological tests.
Psychological and neuropsychological testing are objective tools that may be used to defeat the insurance company’s position that the claimant is malingering or exaggerating his or her disabling condition.
All of the foregoing evidence is especially important in proving disabilities that are ordinarily diagnosed based on the claimant’s subjective complaints, such as Fibromyalgia, chronic pain syndromes, chronic fatigue syndromes and chronic back pain conditions.
A functional capacity evaluation may also provide objective clinical evidence to prove whether the claimant is physically capable of performing the usual and customary duties of a given occupation.
When Objective Evidence is Not Available
When conclusive objective evidence is unavailable, a long term disability may still be validated through the use of subjective evidence. Subjective evidence primarily includes the patient’s self-reports, and the observations of friends and family. If objective evidence is unavailable to prove up a claim, we will work to develop a proper administrative record with all available information substantiating the claimant’s disability.
If your LTD claim has been wrongfully denied, delayed or terminated, contact the Ortiz Law Firm for a free consultation for representation from an experienced disability benefits lawyer.